According to the recently released congressional investigative report on Fast & Furious, five ATF officials are blamed for the Fast & Furious debacle. They are former head of the ATF Kenneth Melson, special agent in charge in Phoenix Bill Newell, Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon, Assistant Director Mark Chait, and Deputy Director William Hoover. This report is part I of III.
None of these men paid the price. Newell was transferred and Hoover retired this week. Chait was demoted but is still listed as the head of the Baltimore office. William McMahon was promoted to the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations which was seen as a warning by this administration to agency whistle blowers. Melson moved to the Office of Legal Policy.
The whistleblowers by contrast have paid the price. Click here to find out what happened to the whistleblowers whose lives and careers have been severely damaged or destroyed.
The scathing report about the actions of the agents-in-charge makes one wonder why they were not fired. I’d also like to know what they really know. At least one perjured himself.
William Newell, the special agent-in-charge in Phoenix, exhibited “repeatedly risky” management and “consistently pushed the envelope of permissible investigative techniques.” The report said “he had been reprimanded … before for crossing the line, but under a new administration and a new attorney general he reverted back to the use of risky gunwalking tactics.”
His boss, Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon, “rubber stamped critical documents that came across his desk without reading them,” the report alleged. “In McMahon’s view it was not his job to ask any questions about what was going on in the field.”
McMahon also gave “false testimony” to Congress about signing applications for wiretap intercepts in Fast and Furious.
McMahon’s supervisor, Mark Chait, assistant director for field operations, “played a surprisingly passive role during the operation,” the report said. “He failed to provide oversight that his experience should have dictated and his position required.”
Deputy Director William Hoover, Chait’s superior, ordered an exit strategy to scuttle Fast and Furious but never followed through. “Hoover was derelict in his duty to ensure that public safety was not jeopardized,” the report states.
Kenneth Melson, a longtime career Justice official, “often stayed above the fray” instead of bringing Fast and Furious to an “end sooner.”
ATF agents said that they were hamstrung by federal prosecutors in Arizona from obtaining criminal charges for illegal gun sales, and that Melson “even offered to travel to Phoenix to write the indictments himself. Still, he never ordered it be shut down.”
Read the report here, courtesy National Gun Rights Examine, David Codrea. Read the story at the Examiner